How To Repair Sun-Damaged Hair, According To An Expert
Apparently, your hair is just as susceptible to sun damage as your skin. – by Kirsty Thatcher
By now, we’re all well-versed in protecting our skin from the harsh effects of the sun. But did you know that your hair is just as susceptible to sun damage?
Chances are, a summer spent under the Australian sun has left your hair looking (and feeling) a little worse for wear. So, as warmer weather comes to an end, there’s no better time to give your locks the TLC they deserve.
Of course, knowing where to start on your hair repair journey is half the issue because, let’s face it: we’d rather spend time under the sun than protecting our hair from it. That’s why we’ve tapped Sydney-based, cult-hairstylist Anthony Nader of RAW By Anthony Nader to take our dull strands to dreamy locks in no time.
What are the signs of sun-damaged hair?
According to Nader, “dull and lacklustre” locks are the first sign your hair has been damaged by the sun. This is because, over time, UV rays can compromise the keratin proteins that make up our hair, in turn wreaking havoc on our natural shine.
Another sign of sun-damaged hair is breakage and split ends. “If you’re noticing more split ends in the summertime, you’re probably not imagining things I’m afraid,” says Nader.
“The sun dries out your hair and the ends of the hair tend to be the driest part of the strands. When your ends become too damaged, they fray and split.”
The third tell-tale sign of damaged hair is rough, frizzy texture. According to Nader, this is the result of damaged hair cuticles. “Healthy cuticles are smooth and shiny. But when your cuticles are damaged, they lift slightly giving frizz and a rough texture.”
Are certain hair types more susceptible to sun damage?
Good news for our curly and thick-haired friends, because these hair types can withstand a considerable amount of sun before showing damage.
Like thinner textures, coloured hair is also more susceptible to sun-related damage. But, says Nader, not all hair colours are created equal. The higher strength ingredients required to colour hair lighter means that (unnatural) blondes are more likely to see damage to their hair after spending time in the sun.
Darker base colours, on the other hand, might notice fading in their colour after prolonged sun exposure.
Is there such a thing as an SPF for your hair?
According to Nader, protection is the key to prevention.
“The Australian sun has the harshest UV light in the world, and that’s why I’ve always preached the need for a UV protection spray to protect your hair strands,” he says.
A UV spray can be applied 2-3 times per week, or every time you wash your hair.
Hats, wide headbands and even head scarves are another way experiment with keeping your hair strands healthy and out of the sun.
And if you’re planning on swimming, Nader suggests applying a cream conditioner to damp strands and wearing a swimming cap over the top. “This is my ultimate saviour and gives 100% protection.”
What is the best way to repair sun-damaged hair?
For Nader, nothing beats a haircut. It’s the “cleanest and most precise way to remove all those nasty brittle and discoloured ends,” he says.
Another tried-and-tested option for repairing sun-damaged strands is an oil treatment. Much like a moisturiser for dry skin, an oil works to re-invigorate dry hair. Simply apply at night, and wash out in the morning for silky, rehydrated locks.
For coloured hair, Nader recommends opting for demi or semi-permanent colours. “These deposit a rich gloss,” he says, making hair look and feel healthier instantly.’’
And, of course, if your goal is to repair the hair, steer clear of bleach and high-strength peroxides, as these will inhibit nutrients being absorbed into the hair cuticle.
Shop Our Picks For Repairing And Protecting Sun-Damaged Hair
Oribe Invisible Defence Universal Protection Spray
Kérastase Elixir Ultime Original Hair Oil
Virtue Split End Serum
3MoreInches LifeSaver UV Leave-in Treatment